Author Archives: Californian Mum in London

About Californian Mum in London

Hey! I'm a California gal who moved to London in 2002 to be with my British bloke. Come read about my adventures living in London, being a Stay-At-Home-Mum, coping with a tea and cake addiction and trying to assimilate into British life. Don't know where I belong, but can't imagine living anywhere else.

Summer is upon us. It has been so warm this past week, at least it has been in London and Surrey. I've finally packed away my winter coat and plan to wear summer dresses as much as I can. A few days ago I popped into the Woking Shopping Centre to purchase a new summer outfit for our holiday in France.

First stop was Debenhams. I love having a range of shops to choose from and Debenhams has some of my favourite brands, including Oasis and Warehouse. This brightly coloured midi dress is from the latter. Normally I choose looser dresses, but this dress was so pretty that I thought I'd be brave and get it. I'm so glad that I did. Yes, I have curves. At 41, I am finally not so embarrassed at my shape. I've teamed it with a very old cardi that is perfect for those cooler summer days.

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Ah spring. One moment it is warm and sunny, and the next minute the sky is opening up and leaving you completely drenched. My children don't seem to mind getting wet, but I just feel better when they're warm and dry. This week, Dubz got a new rubber rain coat, just in time for the insane amount of rain we have had in the past few days.

If you follow me on Instagram, you will notice that I also have a yellow raincoat that I wear quite often. Dubz has been dying to get one like mine for ages. So he was thrilled when his new coat arrived from Lighthouse Clothing. Dubz is barely five, so is still very excited about twinning with his 'honey best friend' (that's what he calls me).

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Four months ago, one of my mummy friends emailed me to ask if I'd like to join her on the Moonwalk London. She suggested that we walk 26 miles in the middle of the night, in our bras. I don't know if I was more horrified at the prospect of wearing a bra in public, or walking 26 consecutive miles. Before I could reply back (telling her that she had probably emailed the wrong friend), she emailed to say that perhaps we could do the half marathon instead. Upon reflection, and after looking at the Moonwalk website, I hesitantly agreed.

If you're not familiar with Moonwalk London, it is a nightime walk to raise money for breast cancer. Wearing the bras is a way to show solidarity as well as to raise awareness and to just have some fun. Walk the Walk organise the Moonwalk challenges (in the UK and abroad) and this year was the 20th anniversary of Moonwalk London.

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Last year, my daughter had a Pizza Express party for her 8th birthday. She had a great time. But when I heard that Pizza Express offered pizza-making parties for adults, I didn't think it would actually be that fun. Fast forward to last week when I was invited to a pizza party for bloggers at the new Pizza Express at Gloucester Road. And as you can see from my face above, I was having a pretty good time.

The evening started off with Prosecco and olives, which of course set the tone for a lovely evening. I was a little nervous as I didn't really know anyone, though had met a few of the bloggers once or twice. But all the shyness went away with the Prosecco and we soon got stuck into some dough. Talk about an ice-breaker. After shaping an tossing some dough, we were all feeling relaxed. And giggly. This was mostly due to Alex (the branch manager) and Gianmaria, who made sure we were learning in an entertaining way.

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I do like going for walks. And I have been enjoying regular walks in Richmond Park since the autumn. In January, one of my friends suggested that we take part in the Moonwalk London . If you're not familiar with it, it is a marathon or half-marathon walk around London in the middle of the night whilst wearing bras. Although this sounded like more than I could handle, it is for a good cause, so I agreed to give the half moon a try (15 miles).

After 12 weeks of training, it is almost time. The Moonwalk London 2017 is tomorrow, 13 May. I started out walking three miles at a time, and last week completed a 12 1/2-mile walk. At first I wore my normal clothes, but as I have walked for longer distances, I have seen that I need proper workout wear. The lovely people from Regatta sent me some items from their new spring/summer17 range.

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My children love Chessington World of Adventures. Moozles goes on the big, scary rides (with her daddy), and Dubz and I go on the gentler rides. The amusement park is about 20 minutes, in the car, from our house so we visit several times a year. Last year, I bought an Adult & Pre-schooler Annual Pass for Dubz and me. And I thought I would let you know if I found it to be good value.

First of all, the annual pass is for adults and children up to, and including, the age of five. At £60 for the pass, you would need to visit three times to break even (the one-day entry cost for a parent and pre-schooler is £21). But the pass gets you a 20% off discount off food and the gift shop, which is great. Even if you bring a packed lunch, you might still be tempted with donuts, ice cream or a cuddly toy. It helps having that extra little discount.

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After I got married, I had this vision of family life - a little girl and then a little boy. But then I had my daughter, and could not envisage having another child. I had endured horrible all-day sickness during my pregnancy, and then had a c-section. I didn't want to go through that again. And we were happy. Our family of three was perfect. I loved my daughter so much, and I couldn't imagine loving another child as much. 'But your vision', Husband said. 'What about that boy?'

There were many reasons, but really, I was scared of having a son. Now, I didn't actually know I would have a boy. But I felt fairly confident. I had been certain I would have a girl first, and I did. And for some reason, I felt quite sure I would have a boy next. And I was terrified. I was afraid of cleaning little boy genitals. I was frightened of having one of those crazy out-of-control boys that one sees terrorising playgrounds. And I was worried that I could not love a naughty son as much as my angelic daughter.

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We had a tough year when Dubz was two. We had to refrain from going out to eat for fear of tantrums. And then when he was three, he only ate toast for about three months. Tough times indeed. But things improved drastically when he turned four last year and then began school in the autumn. And now, we eat out at least once at the weekend. And we love trying out new restaurants.

A couple of weeks ago, we visited the Giggling Squid in Esher to try out their new menu for kids. Moozles and Dubz had never tried Thai food before. I was a bit nervous whether Dubz would enjoy it - after all, there would be no chips on standby. But we had recently tried a Taiwanese restaurant with good results, so I hoped for the best.

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Hooray, it's May! That means that summer is at our fingertips. I can't wait to go out without a jacket and enjoy some warm weather. We're off to France in a couple of weeks and I have high hopes for lovely weather. So I've gotten myself a few new things to make my wardrobe feel summery.

As a curvy lady in my 40s, I want to look stylish but definitely not frumpy. SimplyBe recently offered me some holiday outfits, and I was keen to choose some items that would make be feel chic. And I went straight to the dresses. I love how easily dresses can be dressed up or down, depending on accessories. I chose this indigo t-shirt dress as it is looked so comfy. And I wasn't let down when it arrived. It's nice and loose, so would be perfect attire for pizza, wine and ice cream (our favourite holiday meal). It looks nice with capris and a scarf for a bit of sightseeing, but it can also be thrown over your swimsuit for a more casual look. I'm debating getting the striped version as I love this dress so much.

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A 13-year wedding anniversary isn't that exciting. But then again, shouldn't every year of marital happiness be celebrated excitedly?! Our anniversary is actually tomorrow, but as it's a Sunday on a bank holiday weekend, we thought we'd celebrate it mid-week (for babysitting purposes). So on Wednesday we went to Richmond-upon-Thames to have dinner at the newly-opened Ivy Cafe.

Many people will have heard of The Ivy. They are known for their great food, but also as a hotspot for celebrities. They have recently started opening some smaller cafes in greater London so that us suburbanites can have a taste of the high life. But don't let the term 'cafe' fool you, this is a properly cool and elegant restaurant.

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